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Lack of Initiation

The service member or veteran may seem to have lost interest in activities they used to enjoy. Additionally, you may find yourself offering frequent reminders to do simple tasks, such as brushing teeth or taking a bath – activities that required no initiation from you before the injury.

The service member or veteran may not begin activities on their own. This is not laziness. Injury to the brain is the cause of this lack of initiation.

What might you see?

  • Remaining in bed until encouraged to get up
  • Spending much of the day sitting around, not actively engaged in activities
  • Not speaking unless spoken to
  • Problems completing tasks without a lot of supervision
  • Agreeing to do something, but not following through

How can you help?

  • Set up a regular schedule for the service member or veteran to follow. The goal is to learn a routine until it becomes automatic.
  • Post their schedule of daily, weekly, or monthly activities where they can refer to it often. Make sure it is in the person’s calendar, memory notebook, or electronic device.
  • Work with the service member or veteran to develop a list of goals or tasks to be completed with identified timelines. Help them check off completed tasks so they can see progress.
  • Encourage the service member or veteran to become involved in activities at home (with other family members), church, school, etc.

Having purpose along with structure can be a big help in improving their self-initiation.